Western Springs pulled off a thrilling 3-2 win against local rivals Auckland United to maintain their push for a place in the Women’s National League grand final.
Playing under Friday night lights at Seddon Fields, Springs had to fight back from a two-goal deficit and scored all their goals in the final quarter of the game.
Auckland United took the lead on the half hour when Ruby Nathan raced down the right flank and crossed hard and low for Bree Johnson to turn into the net.
The sides turned around with United ahead by that Johnson goal.
Nathan created the second United goal in the 64th minute when she curled a perfectly-weighted ball into space between the Springs ‘keeper and the advancing substitute Maya Vince.
Vince reached the ball first, steering it past the ‘keeper Angelique Tuisamoa and across the line.
Down by two goals, Springs knew they had to roll the dice — with Northern Rovers stalking them on the table, they could ill afford to drop points.
Springs stayed calm and continued to build from the back, patiently awaiting their chances.
Their first goal came in the 73rd minute when an inswinging Jess Innes corner was met at the far post by Sofia Garcia who hammered the ball into the net.
Main photo: Jess Innes (14) congratulates goalscorer Sofia Garcia after the first goal.
Two minutes later, Springs moved level when an end-to-end move led to winger Lara Colpi crossing into the box for Emma Pijnenburg to swivel and shoot into the net.
In the 86th minute, Nathan broke through for United but her shot was saved by Tuisamoa.
The winning goal arrived a minute later when a speculative shot by Garcia from 25 metres went through the legs of ‘keeper Rivalina Fuimaono.
Though they gave their supporters palpitations, Springs have shown in recent games that they can turn games around and they keep their composure when under pressure.
It bodes well for a run at the title and Friday’s result now transfers the pressure to Northern Rovers who need the win on Saturday against bottom side Central Football.
Game played on Friday November 18, 2022
Western Springs 3 (Sofia Garcia 73′, 87′, Emma Pijnenburg 75′)
Auckland United 2 (Bree Johnson 31′, Maya Vince 64′)
Games to be played on Saturday November 19, 2022
Southern United v Capital Football
Venue TBC, 12.30pm
Northern Rovers v Central Football
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 12.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday November 20, 2022
Eastern Suburbs v Canterbury United Pride
William Green Domain, Pakuranga, 1pm